There are multiple different causes of hair loss, but when should you be concerned about it?
Hair loss of 50-100 strands per day is still acceptable as part of your normal hair turnover. However, if you notice thinning or patchy hair loss, with more than 100 strands per day falling, or hair loss affecting the body or facial hair bearing areas, you may want to let a dermatologist examine the area.
Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in adult males ( “male pattern hair loss”) and adult females (“female pattern hair loss”). There is commonly a family history of hair loss. It usually begins as a gradual thinning, and affects the temples and top of the scalp first in males. In females, this begins as a gradual thinning of the crown. Androgenetic alopecia tends to worsen with time.
Alopecia Areata is a common hair problem affecting children and adults. This is caused by the immune system attacking the hair follicles, resulting in the sudden appearance of round bald patches. Less commonly, facial or body hair may also be affected.
Telogen Effluvium is the most common cause of generalised hair loss in children and also occurs post pregnancy. It occurs due to an interruption of the normal hair growth due to an acute stressor to the body: Acute illness, surgery, medications etc. Sometimes a cause cannot be easily identified.
Your dermatologist will take a detailed history, and perform a scalp and hair exam to try to determine the cause of the hair loss. Further investigations including blood tests may be done if required. Rarely in more complex cases, a biopsy of the scalp may be needed to assess any unusual types of inflammation occurring on the scalp skin.
Treatment options for hair loss will be tailored to the cause. This can range from oral supplements to oral medications, scalp lotions, or injections.